Kiang Malingue is pleased to present at Taipei Dangdai Lai-Chih-Sheng’s solo presentation temporary/present. Reflecting upon operating models of art fairs around the globe, and upon continua suspended and distorted as impactful crises take place in recent years also on a global scale, Lai for the duration of the Taipei Dangdai art fair installs, dismantles, and changes artworks on an irregular and spontaneous basis. The exceptionally timed presentation explores the meaning of focused, singular statements at a time of confusion, and how a radicalised notion of temporariness can change life.
By means of intervention, installation, video, performance, sculpture and drawing, Lai Chih-Sheng (b. 1971, Taiwan) thoroughly explores notions such as immateriality, surplus value, labour and temporality in the last two decades. Monumental projects include: Life-size Drawing (2011), tracing the surface of every single object in a given space, including the space itself; Vertical II (2018), making holes on four consecutive floors, allowing droplets of water gathered atop to reach the lowest ground; and Border (2013), an architectural rendition that harshly defines the audience’s route, rendering a common exhibition space dangerous and problematic. These holistic projects often make direct use of materials available on site, and present nonconforming interventions that are acutely self-reflexive and critical.
Temporary/present is the latest development of such total project. It avails itself of an art fair’s fundamental spatio-temporal properties and reflects upon art and experience’s roles in this global commercial event that is particularly time-specific. Redundant (2022) is the first appearing artwork in temporary/present — also the only artwork that will definitely be on view — it addresses the commonly used needle punch carpet, layering by minimally sculptural means the sturdy material in an undulating way. It stages an untimely scenario in which the carpet is caught in an improper form. For the artist, the artwork is “relaxed, floppy, and overflows reality… it is more likely that Redundant exists prior to the opening of the exhibition.” Desynced, Redundant furthers the artist’s long-term exploration of the spatially and temporally unchained relationship between artistic practises and exhibitions.
For the duration of Taipei Dangdai, the form of temporary/present changes irregularly: Redundant may be dismantled, folded and stored; Lai Chih-Sheng and team will accordingly re-arrange the exhibition on-site and impromptu as art fair operating models are being negotiated and deconstructed. By sourcing materials on-site, showing up early, relying on spontaneity and interrupting schedules, temporary/present unravels the making of an art fair — one of the most important institutions today. For the artist, the temporary/present structure of the project also offers an accommodating environment for the individual artworks. Lai: “art fair’s institution is not unlike our lives today, it is distracting, confusing, rushed, attention-seeking… I can’t help but wonder that if there is a space in it that is calming and can demonstrate a kind of simple creative gesture in an unhurried way, and can afford the artworks the ability to summon and move us, then this event can become slightly more relevant to art.”The relaxed, focused temporary/present allows the artist and the audience to together be attentive to the only artwork shown at any one point, and to reimagine beyond attention economy a species of love that reunites experience with art.
(About the artist)
Lai Chih-Sheng (b. 1971, Taiwan) carries out delicate spatial interventions, pursuing a practice that deals with tension, the everyday and the personal across multiple mediums, in particularly installation and sculpture. There is a playful minimalism in the way he observes detail and creates relationships between different parts of a given space, engaging the viewer’s sense of body and presence. Interested in self-reflexivity and how it applies to the tradition of conceptual art, Lai Chih-Sheng engages with a practice that is aware of its own ‘artificiality’ or absurdity. Lai Chih-Sheng also draws on his personal experience of working for 13 years as a professional bricklayer, using this as a foundation to comment on labour and consumption. As such, Lai strives to remove all vestiges of self-expression from his work, even going so far as transferring the responsibility for its completion onto his audience or the workers who install the exhibition.
Ultimately, Lai Chih-Sheng prompts us to pay attention to our surroundings, to the nature of our bodily contributions, and to the peculiarities of space and the present. Through his skilful interventions and alterations, Lai points to the correlation between magnanimity and impact, demonstrating the weight and value of the sublime and minimal.
Lai Chih-Sheng has exhibited internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei (2020); Kirishima Open-Air Museum, Kagoshima (2019); and Observations Society, Guangzhou (2018). Recent group exhibitions include: Aichi Triennale (2016), Lyon Biennial (2015), OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen (2014) and Hayward Gallery (2012).
temporary/present Lai Chih-Sheng
Needle punch carpet
Image courtesy of the artist.